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Backpacks For The Homeless
One very strong personal preference I have for this ministry is that people not buy "new" if they can avoid it. The world is full of trash and we make more every day.

On top of that, it comes down to simple economics. If you buy a backpack at Wal-Mart for $15, you've bought one shiny new pack for what you could get 10 for at the thrift store. It's the same with blankets. Homeless people don't expect things to be perfect and shiny new. Most of the homeless people I've given packs to are extremely grateful and take no note of the fact that their backpack has a childs name scribbled on it in magic marker.

There are some things you can't get at the thrift store, mainly food items, but always try to get your blankets and backpacks used. This will allow you to help many more people for the same dollars.

Another money saving tip is to buy your healthcare items, such as your toothbrushes, toothpaste and washcloths at discount and dollar stores. I can buy soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste in muti packs at the dollar store for a huge discount.

The only thing I don't scrimp on is food. Buying food at the dollar store is not always a good idea. I used to buy canned beef stew from the dollar store until I tried it and it made me sick. It's always good to make sure that the food you purchase is good food, from a reputable source.

Disclaimer: asks everyone to understand that all people, homeless or not, can be unpredicatable. Please use due dilligence, caution and common sense when approaching people. Stick to well lighted areas, where other people are and try to work in pairs when possible.